Replacing a busy bridge in downtown Ithaca left a tangle of traffic in city streets. But the Clinton Street Bridge opened on Friday, and as our Tamara Lindstrom reports, it's not just drivers cheering the end of construction.
ITHACA, N.Y. -- The sounds of construction on Clinton Street meant months of headache for frustrated drivers.
"Well, what it's done is it's piled up cars on the other routes. So whether you're biking or in a car, it's been a traffic jam for several months," said Andrejs Ozolins, an Ithaca resident.
"It's meant going the other way to get up the hill, and that's always a problem. The other day we were down and there were many people going to Ithaca College and Green Street was tied up," said Linda Keeler, an Ithaca resident.
The bridge connecting Ithaca College to downtown was old and had to be replaced. But on Friday, the barriers came down, and heavy equipment was replaced with relieved commuters.
With the bridge reopened and traffic cleared, there are a lot of happy drivers making their way across the bridge. But it may be the cyclists who have the biggest reason to celebrate.
"The issue was that there was an old steel grate that was worn down very smooth. And the particular pattern of the grating was such that it had this sideward thrust on bike tires. So even experienced bicyclists would just crash on it," said Ozolins.
"Folks would slip. Their tires would slip and get pulled this way and that. It caused a lot of accidents. But what's worse, though, is because of the texture of the bridge, they called it the cheese grater. So when you slipped and crashed, it led to some pretty horrific injuries," said Svante Myrick, Ithaca Mayor.
But with the treacherous metal replaced with standard asphalt, cyclists are enjoying the safer new route.